About five miles south of Marco Island near Naples there are the deteriorating, domed buildings in the Gulf of Mexico known as the Cape Romano Dome Home. There are a lot of stories about these unusual buildings ranging from being by extra-terrestrials , a secret research facility protected by guards with machine guns, home of a secret cult, and more outrageous speculations. The reality is much less outrageous, it was built by Bob Lee who decided to build an eco-friendly home with a goal of minimizing his carbon footprint. Bob Lee's dome home was a fully-functioning and self-sustaining home with foam-filled walls for insulation and pilings underneath the domes that allowed for the free-flow of water during storms.
Bob and his family enjoyed their time for seven years but in 1989 sold the domed home to George Wendell who had plans to buy adjacent properties on the island for a business venture. He wanted to make improvements to the dome home property. By 1991 he was not keeping up with his financial obligations the Dome Home returned to Bob and his family after foreclosure. Lee and his wife remodeled it again and lived there for two years until Hurricane Andrew hit in the summer of 1992. The domes survived the storm but the windows and walkways had been lost to the category five hurricane. After the storm, the family abandoned the Dome Home in its state of disrepair. The next twelve years the dome home were spent abandoned, vacant and deteriorating from exposure to the elements.
At this point is was bought by John Tosto, a Naples resident whose family trust purchased it with intentions to renovate the home and return it to full functionality. Bob Lee had previously advised that a seawall should be built to protect the home. By the time that Tosto owned it, it was recognized to be futile to try and preserve the location so he planned to relocate the domes farther away from the coastline and bring them into compliance with county building codes.
Unable to comply with building codes protecting nesting birds and other environmental protections the homes were abandoned a final time and lives on as a fascinating landmark. As the years pass the dome home has fallen victim to sea and soil erosion. After every hurricane the landscape changed the island and strong currents battered the shoreline leaving it standing in water where it once stood on soil ground.